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Opening Thoughts

The spirit of change casts a seasonal spell and we’re having our usual amazement that the previous season is only as close as a recent memory, i.e. it’s over. Fortunately, we find fall fascinating. We had a great time at Eugene’s annual Health & Well Being Celebration for a summer finale. Peter Leseuer is such a nut case but he throws a great party. Don’t miss it next year! Wilbert Alix, that joyfully grounded shamanic trance dancer, was there to guide us through more psycho-spiritual realms. And so the dance of life continues.

Peter Moore, Alternatives’ earnest editor, wrote an essay on evolution one night when he thought he was lucid and humorous. Richard found it lucid, at least. And so, without further delay, on a right wing and a prayer, we give you . . .

Newt: Right for the Wrong Reasons
Newt has been quoted as saying that the 60’s, with its social idealism, its empowerment of the individual as equal to the State, its feminism, its sexual revolution, its “I’m black and I’m proud” civil rights movement, was an “aberration of history.” My initial response on hearing that was a vague sense of revulsion, a reaction to the stench of Newt’s intellectual arrogance. But, upon reflection, I have come round to Mr. Gingrich’s position. He’s right, but for the wrong reasons. His self-serving scenario says that the social distortion of the ‘60s will iron itself out in time. Then we can all go back to a more predictable world of relationships and hierarchy (presumably with himself presiding as President, after Bill’s impeachment and Al’s ouster on charges of improper fundraising).

Newt is right for bigger reasons than even he can muster. Evolution is an imperitive—like shit, like miracles, it happens. More often than not, evolutionary seeds enter into the lifestream through “aberration,” the door of defect. That is as true of socio-cultural life as it is of biology. Mutation really matters, though it is seldom noticed and even more rarely acknowledged by the powers that be. Newt’s wishful thinking, backed by the institutional power of America’s economic empire, reminds me of the Catholic Inquisition’s pronouncement that Satan inhabited Gallileo’s telescope. This was the ruling class’ way of proving that our planet was still the center of the universe. Those moons moving around Jupiter were an “aberration,” and so was looking at them, hence punishable. Everything would be alright if we’d just ignore them and put our faith into normalcy. As if “truth” could be enforced rather than discovered. The gall of these people! Fortunately, we’ve come a long way since then.

But not that far. More recent comparisons serve up similar nonsense. Newt’s predictions mirror the arrogant superiority of the Chinese leadership making its futile feudal pronouncements. In that vast territory, democracy and individualism are deemed “aberrant.”

The good news is, current regimes worldwide are utimately only stones in the river, not dams. Aberration is flowing everywhere, it can’t be contained, it won’t behave, and it won’t go away. Truth is energy, and it wants to be free. The truly intelligent thing to do is to channel and engage that energy, like a poet does with expressive language, like an enlightened parent does with her child.

The 90’s are the 60’s stood on its head. Different generation, same issues. There is extraordinary foment, in the arts and music, the environment, grassroots demo-cracy, redefinition of labor and the workplace . . . Add to that the profound insult of concentrated wealth, falling real wages & permanent under-class, and a global frustration with the institutional corruption that keeps this system going. Layer in the worldwide revolution in communications, and the unprecedented global democratization posed by the internet. Increasing knowledge of human rights and rising expectations for life’s possibilities erode established bureaucracies everywhere. Top it off with the approaching Millenium, this awesome symbolic event looming just 400 or so days away, with its mysterious techno-nightmare shadow side, the Year Two Thousand effect (Y2K).

Taken together, these developments portend high drama during the next year or two, for anyone who’s paying attention. But it won’t go away after that. There is no doubt that the long term offers an evolutionary imperitive arising out of many inconvenient “aberrations.” While Newt and his Chinese comrades struggle to maintain their power under the guise of “normalcy,” deviancy happens. A revolution is in progress, unled by anyone. It’s dangerous and exhilarating, messy yet profoundly integrative. Sorry Newt, we live in aberrantly evolutionary times.

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